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Zanzibar Travel Guide


Stone Town

Stone town is regarded as Zanzibar's capital. The town was named after the coral stone buildings, largely built during the 19th century. The town is known for its narrow alleyways, large carved wooden doors and covered balconies. The doors are part of the Swahili culture and were largely influenced by Arab and especially Indian motifs. The large brass studs on the doors became decoration after having served as spike covers to protect the inhabitants from elephant raids during the Indian wars. The town currently houses over 16,000 people and is home to 51 mosques, 6 Hindu temples and 2 Christian churches. The people are extremely diverse and fascinating. A walk through the town will show you just how interesting the place is. On the waterfront is an old tree known as "The Big Tree". Some locals believe that Sultan Khalifa planted it in 1911. Many locals hang out here, and it is a good spot to find a driver to take you out to the surrounding islands.

Surrounding Coastline

The coasts of Zanzibar vary according to their location. The East Coast is the most popular with tourists, as this has the best section of beaches and contains many of the large resorts. The North coast is just as beautiful with Nungwi point being accessible to many of the best diving and snorkeling reefs. The South coast of Zanzibar is not particularly popular, except for Kizimkazi where tourists are able to dive with the local school of dolphins. The west coast is probably the least popular as the beaches are not as private as those found elsewhere and tourist facilities are not readily accessible.

Interesting facts about Zanzibar

  • 85 Buildings in Stone Town have collapsed between 1982 and 1992 due to lack of maintenance.
  • 1998 marked the year when Zanzibar's first traffic light was erected
  • The second train in East Africa was completed in Zanzibar in 1905. It traveled only 8 km either way
  • Zanzibar is listed in the Guinness Book of World records for the shortest war in history. Only lasting 45 minutes against the British in 1896

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3 Travellers Comments
Written by Ms Fisher


We had a great time in Zanzibar & rested well. No problems with African Encounters  
The people were friendly and also the staff at Arabian Nights. The rooms were very clean and neat 
Donít think I have anything negative to say really. I mean you canít expect 5* food etc as they have to import most of their foods, but we really had a very good time 
1 thing I did notice that the Jacuzzis were not working- I know we didnít book those rooms, but looks like they have not been in operation for a long time, so maybe investigate and you will have to take that off your room types 
Thanks it was wonderful
Written by Denise Maier Dreams & Visions


Really great website! Thanks so much and look forward to more.
Written by Jaco and Maryka Malan


Jambo Nicolien (Mambo)  
Eerstens vra ek onverskoning date k nou eers terug kom na jou toe. Die laaste 2 weke was mal by die werk. 
Ek moet vir jou en African Encounters baie dankie se vir die wonderlikste vakansie wat ons tot nou toe beleef het. Zanzibar sal ons weer sien, dis n ongelooflike plek, die kos(Chunga) ( ons het van voor af verlief geraak aan vis) , see die mense en die koffie (Khahawa) is die beste. Ons kan nie uit gepraat raak oor Zanzibar nie.  
Alhoewel ons nie by Dhow geslaap het nie , want hulle het nie ons bespreking gekry nie, moet ons dankie se vir Mohammed en Ali van Exotic Tours dat hulle die problem so vinnig uit gesorteer het, ons het toe tuis geggaan in Zanzibar Beach Resort. Mohammed is seker die heel beste gids in Zanzibar, hy het alles maar alles vir ons gedoen , inligting gegee en van alles vertel.  
Swahili se gas vryheid is uit die boonste rake, Solomon die hoof kelner is brilliant , Tipu the bestuurder dankie ou maat vir alles en Simon die accountant thanks , julle het nie net vir ons Swahili geleer nie , maar ook laat besef , dat n mens n mens is. Swahili is klein maar die groter plekke kan by hulle gasvryheid leer.  
O ja die see, die reefs die dolfyne en die visse ai wat n wonderlike experience was dit nie. Ons ka nook nie uit gepraat raak oor die sons ondergang nie , of dit nou Stonetown se African House of Swahili se stoep is , dit bly fantasties. Ons het net weer besef hoe Groot en Almagtig GOD is met Sy skepping. 
Ons dink ons nuwe travel partner is ensal altyd African Encounters en Nicolien wees. Ons moet se , jy kan enige tyd vir Nicolien iets gevra en sy kon ons help en raad gee, dankie vir jou professionele raad en vriendelike hulp. 
Ons het seker meer as 400 foto`s geneem .Hoe se hulle in Swahili ďme me majoka sanaĒ nie seker van die spelling nie , maar ons was moeg, Zanzibar bide soveel aan, dat 10 dae nie genoeg was nie. 
Zanzibar ons begroet julle met n groot verlange en sal julle weer besoek. Zanzibar is n moet vir almal , veral vir lank getroude paartjies, jy sal mekaar vind en baie gesels , wat jy nie altyd doen in SA se gejaagde wereld nie  
Jaco en Maryka Malan

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